Poor sense of philosophy and history

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by Rumy73, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. Rumy73

    Rumy73 Black Belt

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    I am not surprised but disappointed at the lack of scholarly and philosophical development in many of those who post here. It supports my thesis that the martials have devolved into merely a method of fighting (self defense, sports, et cetera). A martial artist should take an academic approach to historical investigation. The martial artist should be stretching his heart and soul as much as his body. It is not commercially viable nor truly appreciated in today's material culture. Martial arts are overly deferential to youth, issuing black belts to teens, and celebrate the physical aspects of the art in the extreme.
     
  2. WC_lun

    WC_lun Senior Master

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    I find your post to be a bit self important, haughty, and a huge generality. I personally know of many martial arts teachers that do not promote children to black sash/belt. I also know many that are very intteligent and scholarly, doing quite a bit of research into martial history and other areas of life, including the sciences. Many of the martial artist I know are also some of the most compassionate people I know, showing true heart and soul. What I do not see is martial artist as some super hero mythical hero that comes from the movies that some want to create a fantasy around. Martial artist are people and as people will suffer the same pitfalls.

    The best advise I can offer is take care of your own house, and stop throwing stones at others. You obviously don't know many of the folk who post here that you want to be so "disapointed" with.
     
  3. SahBumNimRush

    SahBumNimRush Master of Arts

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    I've been absent a while, but I seem to remember your "beef" with TKD, and it's lack of mental/philosophical development about a year or so ago. That you were leaving TKD to pursue Krav Maga and/or Hapkido. Without derailing this thread before it really even starts, I'm curious how your proverbial "walk about" panned out.

    Also, I'm not sure who you are disappointed in around here, I have found that the majority of folks here offer quite a bit of knowledge when it comes to the subject. I am NOT a historian, but I do consider myself relatively well read when it comes to Taekwondo, and to a lesser extent general Korean history, and general martial arts history/philosophy. In 2008, for my master's test, I wrote a 270 page thesis on the historical and philosophical teachings of Taekwondo. Granted I do not practice Kukki TKD, I am a Moo Duk Kwan TKD practitioner, but I still consider what I do to be TKD.

    While there are many all over the world that will capitalize on martial arts to turn a quick buck, I don't see many "devolved" practitioners, as you say on MT. Although, I've been gone a bit, maybe there are some newbies on here that I haven't met.. .

    Also, keep in mind that before many martial arts evolved to later incorporate more of the philosophical aspects to the art, not the other way around. Many Japanese arts evolved from "Jutsu" arts to "Do" arts.

    I would like to note, that I do not disagree with your premise, only that it has not been my general observation here on MT. The diluting has been a problem since the beginning in the U.S., and it will always be there. That said, there are still training halls out there that offer what you are looking for. You just rarely find them in your local strip mall.. .
     
  4. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    Do you mean all martial arts or just Taekwondo? You see my confusion is you are saying "martial arts" but posting in the Taekwondo section. Martial arts is a very general term that crosses over multiple cultures and multiple styles

    How much experience do you have in "all" martial arts?

    If you are using a generalization like "martials have devolved into merely a method of fighting" to support thesis then it is obvious that you have not taken an academic approach to historical investigation nor have you stretched your heart and soul as much as your body. And I can only assume that you made this assentation for some sort of personal gain, be that for monetary purposes or more ego based. But then I am not exactly sure what you mean by “martials” I am assuming (which is never a good thing if you are presenting a thesis) that you mean Martial Arts.

    However it can be proven that you did not take an academic approach or for that matter do much research on the topic of “Martial Arts” prior to making your assertion since it can be proven historically that there are those martial arts that had no interest in issuing belts and there are many today that still do not.
     
  5. Rumy73

    Rumy73 Black Belt

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    In the U.S., most martial arts focus on the physical and technical development of students, history and philosophy are remote after thoughts.
     
  6. Instructor

    Instructor Master Black Belt

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    OP,
    I work most of the day at a job. If I am lucky I get a few hours of martial arts practice in a week. I occasionally get the luxury of getting to read a book in the evenings. I try to read the best stuff I can find. This is the sum of my knowledge about martial arts. Often the "history" in the books is slanted to the authors own point of view. I don't have time to make the history of martial arts my lifes work (as enjoyable as that might be). I am too busy trying to raise my kids and teach my students.

    One of the things I like about Martial Talk is that open and frank discussion helps me fill in the gaps and shows me that sometimes what I thought was concrete fact was simply one authors point of view.
     
  7. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Do you want cheese with your whine?
     
  8. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    I actually think this is a true statement... at least, insofar as the primary focus of martial arts training should be physical and technical development.

    There are architects and there are carpenters. The guy I'd want framing my house would be the guy who swings a hammer for a living, not the guy who draws the pictures. The carpenter learns the physical and technical skills of carpentry. Learning to read a blueprint is important to a carpenter. However, learning to design a blueprint in CAD wouldn't help the carpenter be a better carpenter at all.

    When you enlist in the military, you are sent to boot camp, where you learn all of the physical and technical skills necessary to be a good soldier. The curriculum at Westpoint or the Air Force Academy is quite different for those who intend to accept a commission. Once again, there is overlap, but the officers are learning different skills than the grunts. And it gets even more specialized from there.

    So, the key here is to determine what the students of a martial arts schools are really trying to learn. My opinion is that a student of martial arts, regardless of style, should be learning physical and technical proficiency in that art, above all else. Getting caught up in esoteric studies will actually impede training, not enhance.
     
  9. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Let's break this down a bit, shall we?

    This would imply that martial arts started out as something other than fighting methods. Historically, the fighting methods came first. Over time, some (but not all) martial traditions developed various philosophical trappings (or at least paid lip service to same), sometimes at the expense of the original fighting utility. Where are we today? Some martial arts schools teach just fighting methods. Others teach deeper philosophical/moral lessons as well. Still others give lip service to a philosophical creed while actually doing very little to instill that creed in their students. In other words, this era is pretty much like previous eras in the martial arts.

    I'm all for a rigorous academic approach to historical investigation, but how does this apply to martial artists in particular? Martial arts history has typically been passed down through oral tradition and has long been filled with tons of distortions and fabricated nonsense. Thanks to the internet, we actually have access to much more accurate details of martial arts history than was possible back when I started studying. Even so, many aspects of martial arts history were never well documented at the time and are now the province of speculation unless a trained historian with time on his/her hands manages to investigate and find new information.

    Which martial arts are you specifically speaking of here? Some martial arts schools are aimed specifically at children - that would be their function. Other schools don't even admit children. Some issue black belts to teens. Some do not. Some don't issue any sort of belt to anyone. A rank belt is meaningless except in the context of a the particular system where it is issued and can have different meanings depending on who is issuing it.

    This does sort of sound as if you are calling out particular posters without having the courage to name names or specify your complaints. On this board we have representatives of many different arts. We have people who have trained for a few months and others who have trained for decades. We have some who don't even train in any art yet and have come to ask for advice on selecting a school. We have folks with all different reasons for training - some for self-defense, some for competition, some for cultural expressions, some for fitness, some for fun. Among these members you can find all levels of "scholarly and philosophical development" and that's probably as it should be. BTW - when did "scholarly development" become an expected attribute for a martial artist?
     
  10. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    Define most based on your background, What styles have you trained?
     
  11. Instructor

    Instructor Master Black Belt

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    At the danger of plugging my own site (admins forgive me) I have tried to study and convey the history of my own art:

    http://www.hapkido-online.com/hapkido-history.html

    I studied books and websites and then wrote the story in my own words for my students and others who are interested. I even invited other Hapkidoin outside my own organization to read my work and provide feedback based on their own experience. I believe in peer review. I adjusted the work to reflect what others had told me.

    I ended up with I think a pretty sound testimony of Choi Yong Sul and some of the history of Hapkido. I wish I knew more about it but at the end of the day I am a simple layman and teacher trying to keep my art alive for future generations. I think it's this way with a lot of schools. Folks do the best they can.
     
  12. clfsean

    clfsean Senior Master

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    Maybe for your strip mall & shopping center school or your gym based training facility... probably.

    But in a word... no. Sorry you've been left out.
     
  13. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    I was taught by the GM of my kwan. He would answer any question I put to him, but he did not teach any history of Hapkido as part of any classes.
     
  14. Gorilla

    Gorilla Master of Arts

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    The BBS is starting to get interesting!:bangahead:
     
  15. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    You are soooo lucky I wasn't drinking when I read that or you'd owe me a new keyboard :)
     
  16. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    May I ask for the source of your data that you're using to support this conclusion?
     
  17. Rumy73

    Rumy73 Black Belt

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    Hapkido, taekwondo, karate, tang soo do, soo bahk do and a touch of tai chi. The latter offering the most holistic approach.
     
  18. Rumy73

    Rumy73 Black Belt

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    Ksd, your LE background and diverse training speaks for itself. I think you do agree, but play devil's advocate with the best of them. Ethics, philosophy and history are not what today's schools really instill. They may hang placards on the wall but beyond that the deeper connection to the art is absent. I have certainly learned how to fight, save for soo bahk do, the honorable use of those skills was nothing but passing notes in a symphony of physicality.
     
  19. Rumy73

    Rumy73 Black Belt

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    Tony, thank you for your thoughts.
    To clarify, I am not calling anyone out. That was not what I meant. Let us dig into the meat of this. Holistic development for a warrior spans the globe. Samurai, Greek hoplites, knights, braves, et cetera were taught one of the ultimate lessons in life: how to take a life. The great responsibility that comes with the knowledge of how to channel violence requires tempering. Today's young martial artist is given the tools of violence but is not receiving a proper balancing dose of history and philosophy. Scholarly pursuit (can be a simple as guided home study) develops critical thinking. Wisdom flows from such sense and reason. This leads to the perpetuation of the goodness inside the martial arts.
     
  20. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    It's true that many of the ancient warrior traditions did at various times include at least an ideal of moral/philosophical development to complement the martial training. However my reading of history leads me to think that the extent of this ideal has been rather over-romanticized by some today who look back at these cultures. (This over-romanticized view of the past isn't limited to the present day. Mallory wrote Le Morte D'Arthur as a paean to a chivalric ideal that he thought had been lost in the 15th century.)

    I do appreciate the value of developing intellectual knowledge and a strong moral compass as well as physical skills. I'm not sure that martial arts instructors in general have any particular qualifications for guiding that development, either now or in previous generations.

    BTW - for those who are interested in thinking deeply about the philosophical and moral underpinnings and implications of martial arts training, I strongly recommend Ellis Amdur's Dueling with O-sensei (subtitled Grappling with the Myth of the Warrior Sage)​.123
     

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